Esoteric Recordings announce a new release on their recently launched Cocteau Discs imprint, a limited edition reissue of BILL NELSON’s classic 4 disc ambient boxed set "TRIAL BY INTIMACY (The Book of Splendours)”. The set was originally released on Bill’s Cocteau Records label in October 1984 and comprised recordings made by Bill at his Echo Observatory home studio. Comprising some eighty pieces of music, the set was a fine example of Bill Nelson’s grasp of Ambient music and has subsequently been hailed as a ground-breaking work. Long deleted, the set is made available once more with this newly re-mastered Cocteau Discs edition. The new release fully restores the original elements of the "TRIAL BY INTIMACY” box and is an exact facsimile, reproducing a 32 page book and eight art postcards that featured in the original set.
THE COMPLETE BILL EVANS ON VERVE is an 18-disc, 269-track box set featuring every track that Bill Evans recorded for Verve between 1962 and 1969, including 98 previously-unreleased tracks. It includes a 160-page, full-color book. THE COMPLETE BILL EVANS ON VERVE was nominated for a 1998 Grammy Award for Best Recording Package - Boxed and for Best Historical Album. The 18 CDs in this exhaustive set provide a comprehensive picture of Bill Evans from 1962 to 1969, a period when the pianist was both consolidating his fame and sometimes taking his music into untested waters, from unaccompanied piano to symphony orchestra. His work with multitracked solo piano, originally released as Conversations with Myself and the later Further Conversations with Myself, was the most remarkable new format for his introspective music. It gave Evans a way to be all the pianists he could be at once–combining densely chordal, harmonically oblique parts with surprising, rhythmic punctuation and darting, exploratory runs.
Two decades' worth of music from the mighty Bill Barron – all of it great, no matter what the vintage, and recorded by Swedish Radio in a variety of different formats! Some sides are straight, others are quite experimental – and Barron's given plenty of freedom to try out new ideas here, possibly even more than on some of his studio sets from the time. Settings include a large group from 1966, a 1966 quartet with Jan Wallgren on piano and Rupert Clemendore on drums, and quartets with Lars Sjosten on piano, from the years 1966, 1979, and 1984 – including one date that also features Barron on melodica! The recording quality is great throughout, and the 75 minute package is a real testament to Bill's continuously creative energy over the years – far past the initial moments of brilliance shown by some of his 60s contemporaries.
For this set, tenor saxophonist Bill Perkins is showcased in an all-star octet also including altoist Bud Shank, baritonist Jack Nimitz, trumpeter Stu Williamson, trombonist Carl Fontana, pianist Russ Freeman, bassist Red Mitchell and drummer Mel Lewis. Perk's tone is heard throughout at its coolest (influenced by Lester Young but distinctive within the style) and there are plenty of short spots for the other key voices.
The Johnny Hodges-Wild Bill Davis Project, Vol. 4. BLUE HODGE (LP). This out-of-print LP (which has not yet been reissued on CD) is the earliest of several matchups between altoist Johnny Hodges and organist Wild Bill Davis. With the assistance of Les Spann on guitar and flute, bassist Sam Jones and drummer Louis Hayes, Hodges and Davis mostly stick to fresh material, including three then-recent originals by Gary McFarland. Highlights include "Azure Te," "It Shouldn't Happen to a Dream" and "There Is No Greater Love," in addition to some swinging blues.
It might not appear like an obvious hotbed of contemporary music, but amid the rolling cornfields of western Michigan, at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Bill Ryan has been masterfully cultivating the GVSU New Music Ensemble. And with RETURN, the group's fourth album, Ryan is reaping what he has sewn since founding the ensemble in 2006: All 15 works were composed by his former students.
Although he never seems to win any popularity polls, Bill Holman is among the most respected and unique arrangers of the last 40 years of the 20th century. This CD features his band of the mid-'90s, an outfit that includes many of the top Los Angeles-based musicians. Holman's writing is often colorfully overcrowded (rewarding repeated listenings) yet logical, with the charts progressing and developing from beginning to end rather than repeating the same basic ideas continuously.